The National Broadcaster On Trial
AFTER 12 YEARS, A LANDMARK TRIAL IN THE NSW SUPREME COURT AS RESEARCH GROUP TAKES ON ABC IN ‘KNOWLEDGE VERSUS DOGMA’CONFLICT
13 March 2007 Media Release
A four week trial begins tomorrow in the NSW Supreme Court to determine defences and damages following the ABC’s defamation of Australian biologist and author Jeremy Griffith and renowned Everest mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape AM in a 1995 Four Corners TV program.
The trial follows a 2003 jury verdict that found the ABC defamed the two directors of the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood, a Sydney-based research foundation dedicated to advancing biological understanding of the human condition: humans’ capacity for both ‘good and evil’.
“What’s at stake in this trial is the principle of freedom of expression in this crucial area of scientific enquiry,” said John Biggs, a spokesperson for the Foundation.
“Humans’ fundamental responsibility as conscious beings is surely to find knowledge, ultimately self-knowledge, understanding of the human condition no less.
“While this issue of our contradictory nature is the most confronting and contentious of subjects, it is also the underlying issue in all human affairs that has to be addressed if there is to be a future for humanity.”
Mr Biggs said the ABC’s misrepresentation of Mr Griffith’s work in this field highlights the dishonesty and great danger of the public broadcaster’s politically correct culture. “It is a culture that dogmatically imposes idealism at the exclusion of any tolerance and analysis of humans’ less than ideal reality,” he said.
“Rather than be a proponent of free and independent thought, the ABC supported guest producer Reverend David Millikan’s attack on a ground-breaking scientific synthesis that he found threatening to his faith.
“This is a very serious development—especially for a country valued for its initiative, its tolerance and its love of a fair go.”
Significantly, Mr Griffith’s work is increasingly attracting international attention and support from prominent scientists who do see it as being at the cutting edge of scientific enquiry.
Professor Harry Prosen, former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, said of Mr Griffith’s recent book, The Great Exodus, “there has never been a more important book”.
Mr Griffith’s 2003 book, A Species In Denial, has become a bestseller, and his biological synthesis for a proposed documentary series about the human condition has received commendations from over 100 of the world’s leading scientists and thinkers including physicist Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureate Charles Townes.
Despite the growing appreciation abroad, it has been a 12 year struggle for Mr Macartney-Snape and Mr Griffith to clear their names in Australia, Mr Biggs said. “This legal challenge was forced upon us when, despite the Australian Broadcasting Authority ruling the program ‘inaccurate, partial and unbalanced’ and recommending that the ABC apologise, the ABC refused to do so.”
The trial, before Justice David Kirby, will commence at the Darlinghurst Courthouse with opening submissions from barrister Kieran Smark outlining the plaintiffs’ case.
Further information please visit staging.humancondition.com or contact Sally Edgar on 0425 247 133.
Note: More information is available in the Backgrounders prepared for this Media Release.